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Nicole O’Donnell Morey.
Limerick

Woman killed in Limerick dog attack named locally as 23-year old Nicole Morey

Nicole, originally from Limerick City, died after being mauled by at least one dog.

LAST UPDATE | 5 Jun

A WOMAN IN her 20s who was killed in a dog attack at a house in Limerick has been named locally.

23-year old Nicole Morey died at the scene in the early hours of Wednesday, just hours after celebrating her birthday.

Nicole, originally from Limerick City, died after being mauled by at least one dog.

Gardaí have confirmed that the incident occurred at 1.40am in the garden of a home in Ballyneety, a rural area about 12 kilometres outside Limerick city.

Armed detectives and uniformed gardaí from Roxboro attended the scene.

Armed gardaí from the Regional Armed Support Unit, understood to be stationed in Tipperary, were among those who responded to the incident which took place in a yard or garden area of the house. 

At least two dogs directly involved in the attack and suspected to be from restricted breeds were seized by gardaí.

One of the two dogs directly involved was shot by gardaí, while three of the other dogs were restrained by the guards as they attempted to rescue the woman.

The woman was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency services.

Her body has been removed from the scene to Mid Western Regional Hospital where a Post Mortem examination will take place.

Gardaí have appealed for members of the public not to share footage and images of the attack. 

An investigation is ongoing and anyone with information on this incident is asked to contact Roxboro Road Garda Station or the Garda Confidential Line

A granduncle of a Nicole today said she was known for treating the animals “like her own babies”.

Speaking by telephone from Spain where he was on holidays, Ms Morey’s granduncle, Anthony O’Donnell, 58, said distressed family members telephoned him and delivered the shocking news.

“She was out for her birthday and she went home, opened the hall door to go in home when the dog attacked her, jumped out on top of her and attacked her,” Mr O’Donnell said.

Paying tribute, Mr O’Donnell described his grandniece as “a lovely girl, with a great heart, would do you a good turn rather than any turn”.

“She was a decent girl, quiet, she kept to herself.”

Mr O’Donnell said two young women who were staying in the same hotel as him in Spain told him his deceased grandniece was well known for posting photos of herself and the dogs on social media.

“There’s two young girls here and they know her and they said she used to treat them (the dogs) like babies,” he said.

Prayers were also said today at St Mary’s Church, Athlunkard, Limerick and were led by family friend, Fr Richard Davern.

“We prayed for the poor woman at mass this morning, I buried her grandfather Pa O’Donnell only last February, they are a lovely family from St Mary’s Park,” Fr Davern said.

The priest said the family were well-known in community and sporting circles.

“There are no words to really describe the absolute horror of this. God love them,” he said.

“I spoke to one of her former school teachers this morning and they said (Nicole) had a lovely personality.”

“They said she had ambitions to go back to college and train as a SNA (Special Needs Assistant) and into education, so she had ambitions, the poor girl.”

Dog control

Legislation dealing with dangerous dogs state that the dogs must be in a public place before action can be taken.

Nationally in 2023, 850 dog attacks were reported, including 430 on people. There were 240 on livestock, and 180 on other animals.

Justice Minister Helen McEntee told RTÉ’s News at One that her thoughts are with the woman and her community.

“This is not something we see happen very often … it’s very distressing for everybody involved here,” she said.

She added that she believes certain dog breeds should be banned, but didn’t name any specifically. Laws on this, she says, should be based on patterns reported in other countries about the viciousness of certain breeds.

Heather Humphreys, Minister for Rural and Community Development, said she is “appalled” by the attack, adding that it’s important that gardaí establish the facts of what happened.

The incident comes a week after an unrelated dog attack in Limerick on a nine-year-old boy.

“I have consistently said that more action is required in relation to dog control,” said Humphreys.

She has set up a group, chaired by retired Deputy Garda Commissioner John Twomey, to examine the restricted breeds list, “in line with actions being taken in the UK and Northern Ireland”.

Gardaí and Limerick City Council have, in the last month, launched a campaign warning about dangerous dogs. 

With additional reporting from Niall O’Connor and Mairead Maguire.

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